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Parable of the Talents (Earthseed, #2)
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Parable of the Talents (Earthseed #2)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  14,013 Ratings  ·  1,075 Reviews
This Nebula Award-winning sequel to Parable of the Sower continues the story of Lauren Olamina in socially and economically depressed California in the 2030s. Convinced that her community should colonize the stars, Lauren and her followers make preparations. But the collapse of society and rise of fanatics result in Lauren's followers being enslaved, and her daughter stole ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1998)
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Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
God is change.

Thus is presented Octavia Butler’s brilliant and brutally powerful 1998 Earthseed novel Parable of the Talents.

Taking its title from the Biblical parable from St. Matthew, Butler describes a near future dystopian American society that has been decimated by apocalypse, The Pox, and is unraveling along socio-economic and theological lines.

Religion as power

Some religious critics will see this novel as an attack on religious fundamentalism, most specifically Christian extremism, as hor
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews
The Bible's Parable of the Sower talks about seeds. Seeds need to fall on good earth in order to grow into majestic trees.
Butler's Parable of the Sower told a similar tale: The seeds of a new religion need to find fertile minds.

The Bible's Parable of the Talents talks about talents that get buried in earth. These hidden talents don't grow but become pointless and represent a significant waste.
Butler's Parable of the Talents told a seemingly totally unrelated tale.

"Parable of the Talents" conti
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
“We learn more and more about the physical universe, more about our own bodies, more technology, but somehow, down through history, we go on building empires of one kind or another, then destroying them in one way or another. We go on having stupid wars that we justify and get passionate about, but in the end, all they do is kill huge numbers of people, maim others, impoverish still more, spread disease and hunger”

The above passage is the essence of what Octavia Butler wanted to communicate with
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Much More Than Sci-Fi

Neither Amazon nor the Library of Congress has a classification in which The Parable of the Talents fits easily. So it typically gets dumped into science fiction by default. But while the book does take place in the future, and extrapolates some of the possible consequences of things like climate change and computer-controlled weaponry, there is nothing unrecognisable as probably existing on somebody's drawing board, somewhere. There is certainly no typical sci-fi bending of
May 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Zach by: Joy, who was annoyed by my negativity
There are times when I wish I believed in hell-other than the hells we make for one another, I mean.

These are tough books to review, and I'll just use this space to talk about both of them.

Butler unflinchingly looks at the effect the steady deterioration of society would have on women and the economically marginalized- I love this.

She also has a strong female character making her way through this world in a believable way- I love this too.

This female character slowly gathers a band of survivors
Dannii Elle
This is the second instalment in the Earthseed duology. This follows the same protagonist, Lauren, although the time period has shifted forward a few years, from the first book. This primarily follows the same diary-style format, although there are additional small inclusions from other characters. It also deals with primarily the same topics of focusing on the societal and political alterations in an anarchy-ruled dystopian, and the instalment and a creation of a new religion to alleviate the d ...more
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kari m.
Shelves: fiction
Grim, bleak, and intellectual read about the near future. This is my first Octavia Butler book and I enjoyed her simple & elegant writing style. This particular novel is a dystopian story that, sadly, feels prescient. Christian America finally gets a candidate into the oval office and the consequences are terrifying. The US heads to war with Canada and Alaska who have both dared to secede. Citizens who are not good Christians, poor, or homeless are prey to Crusaders and their reeducation cam ...more
I don't feel capable of adequately putting down my thoughts on this book quite yet. But I'll write some stuff. Parable of the Talents and Sower before it are both grand accomplishments in inspiring deep self reflective thought while also entertaining the reader with deep and relatable characters. For many years now I have been struggling with how I should determine my attitude toward religion and belief. Though my inquiry into understanding the true nature of faith and religion is far from over, ...more
This book is the sequel to Parable of the Sower, but it stands up pretty well by itself, though I would definitely recommend reading the first book, because Butler is that good and these books are very powerful. In Parable of the Talents, Lauren Olamina, the protagonist of the first book, continues trying to build a community and a following devoted to her new religion, "Earthseed." Unfortunately, she is trying to found this new religion just when America, in the grip of a near-apocalyptic econo ...more
This book is even harder to read than the first one was, but it's difficult to go into why without being a festival of spoilers. So I'll just say a few things -- I noticed some people complaining in their reviews of Parable of the Sower that while Butler did go into some of the ways that minorities are hit harder during difficult times, she didn't go into much into how they fall harder on women. (But wait a second, really? Not with the two sisters who are prostituted by their own father? Not wit ...more
Leslie Reese
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents has a familiar sense of urgency that drove both Kindred and Clay’s Ark. Like Mind of My Minds, Parable of the Talents features a strong-willed woman as visionary and shaper of a future world.

Most of the tale is told through EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING---a compilation of the journal writings of Lauren Oya Olamina, a hyperempath who is married to a physician known as Bankole, who happens to be 39 years her senior. But there are other tellers as well:
Nov 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
God, I was so into this - even more than Parable of the Sower. I've never experienced a narrator like this - a young black woman founding a new religion in a post apocalyptic world. In this book, she's up against the Christian America movement, whose leader is elected president and whose Crusaders are given a free hand to destroy or enslave "heathens" and other undesirables. Some of the early rhetoric of the Christian America movement was eerily reminiscent of that which surrounded George W. Bus ...more
Apr 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
I loved the first book, but could hardly bear to finish this one. The first half is really boring, and then there's a brief but extremely horrible and violent section, where evil, white Christian men rape, torture, and murder people who don't agree with their views. It's way over the top. Then it's boring again until the end.

Part of the boredom stems from the way this book is written. Unlike Parable of the Sower, which steeps the reader in the middle of the drama, this book consists entirely of
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Two major problems lead to this book getting the rating it did
--The first one was completely the book's fault and that was extremely mediocre dialogue. Like its been a while since I've read dialogue this colorless.
--The second was that this is the second book in a duology...and i didnt read the first book. Bare in mind that you absolutely don't need to read the first book to read this one. But since i review books more from a writers standpoint than that of enjoyment, i noticed a lot of bug
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended reading at the date of this review publishing.

President Jarret's slogan in this book is "Make America Great Again" and you read that within 30 pages of the opening. Ring the alarm.
Octavia E. Butler’s books are not for the squeamish and most certainly not for people who want happy, Hollywood endings. Things work out in the end – but never in a nice neat package. There is always a lot of loss in all of its most painful forms. Her works are very realistic in that matter. In fact, her works are realistic in all matters. They are a reflection of life and of the human spirit. They don’t allow you to escape into science fiction and fantasy as easily as other books in the genre m ...more
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes fiction
I learned about Octavia Butler by reading Linda Haroway's Modest Witness@Second Millenium. FemaleMan Meets OncoMouse: Feminism and Technoscience. Octavia Butler writes fantastic, interesting stories. You should not be scared away by the "science fiction" title. Octavia writes exactly what science fiction should be- exploring what it means to be human, gendered, sexual, organic, alive. It is not stupid tazers/3rd penis/deep space science fiction masturbation. This is my favorite of all of her boo ...more
Danika at The Lesbrary
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-lesbian
This was brutal in every way, but so, so good. This is what I want from a dystopia. It's heartbreaking and impossible to dismiss. It's a warning. And also a promise that life will survive. (Also I found myself a bit of a convert to a fictional religion?)

Choose your leaders
with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward
is to be controlled
by all that coward fears.
To be led by a fool
is to be led
by the opportunists
who control the fool.
To be led by a thief
is to offer up
your most precious treasures
to be stolen.
To be led by a liar
is to ask
to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant
is to sell yourself
and those you love
into slavery." (183)


Protects itself.
The continuing story of Lauren Olamina, whose gathered followers are now part of a community called Acorn. Things seem to be going well until a white Christian demagogue is elected, whose followers take matters into their own hands, attacking Acorn, killing a number of residents, imprisoning the survivors, and removing the children, placing them into more traditional religious homes. Lauren's dreams for Earthseed are derailed, while the survivors wait for their opportunity to liberate themselves ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diverse, 5-star, fantasy
Loved this book. It's amazing. I think everyone should read it (after reading Parable of the Sower). I'll definitely be looking for more Octavia Butler books to read.
Parable of the Talents begins about a decade after Parable of the Sower. Acorn is now a thriving community of 60+ members, and Lauren continues writing in her journal. Interspersed between her journal entries are the thoughts of her daughter--Asha. Though Asha is yet to be born during Lauren's sections, you immediately know that the future Asha is separated from her mother at some point. Parable of the Talents tells the story of how mother and daughter were separated, and how Acorn collapsed.

I l
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I liked Butler's historical time travel novel Kindred, but was disappointed with this dystopian SF. Some of her ideas have merit. I liked the idea of society's "leftovers" coming together to build a new community, and I'm a fan of the woman as leader. I didn't like the simplistic way most Christians in the novel were portrayed as evil, sadistic hypocrites. And what's up with Olamina confessing, in the last 100 pages of the book, to wanting to sleep with a woman? And then throwing in that her hal ...more
Mar 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Found this title in a free box in our apartment's laundry room. I read it just as the bush admin was quietly shriveling to its long awaited end and I was feeling hopeful that Obama could actually bring some positive change. This book resonated with some of those feelings. Butler's characters and voice spoke clearly to me, but more than that her vision of a post slowpocalypse (i think i just made that word up - i want to communicate apocalyptic society altering disaster(s) that did not come about ...more
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not as smooth as the previous Parable of the Sower, Butler is a little too in love with her cast of characters and the Acorn settlement to move the story forward, burdening the tale with occasional stuck-in-the-mud moments of bogged-down, stagnant plot. Getting on with it is a good thing, and each time she does, the story is wrenching and compelling... only to get stuck again, but stick with it. Not sure how I feel about Butler's narrative voice decision of a sullen long-lost daughter, who seems ...more
Amber Dunten
I absolutely loved Parable of the Sower, and yet it took me a long time to get around to reading Parable of the Talents. Now, I wonder why. Probably because I heard that bad things were going to happen to Lauren Olamina and her followers in the second book, and I didn't know if I could face that, even knowing that bad things have to happen to good people to have drama. Probably also because I sampled the beginning of the book, and it opened with Olamina's adult daughter, and the first thing that ...more
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Lauren Olamina's vision of Earthseed continues in this sequel to the "Parable of the Sower". It's slightly less powerful than the first book but still, a very worthy read. [return][return]Olamina's first Earthseed community, Acorn, is thriving and slowly growing when extremists come in and destroy it. The adults are made slaves and children are taken. Eventually she and others escape and she attempts to find her stolen infant daughter (Larkin). At the same time, she still wholeheartedly believes ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
May 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
So, this book is excellent, but horrible stuff happens in it. Simply HORRIBLE which is why politics and religion don't mix. Keep them separated.

So, Lauren continues to try to keep Earthseed alive. Earthseed is awesome. It's all about adapting to change while at the same time not letting change drown you. No matter how hard it gets, you don't give up hope. You keep trying. You keep striving to build a better world. It's inspirational. Things could become this bad in the real world. If it does, w
Laura Lam
Everyone should read this book in 2017 and be disturbed by how realistic it could be. I think it's more realistic than Handmaid's Tale, It Can't Happen Here, and 1984 combined.
"All prayers are to Self
And, in one way or another,
All prayers are answered.
But beware.
Your desires,
Whether or not you achieve them
Will determine who you become. "
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Octavia Estelle Butler was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.
More about Octavia E. Butler...

Other Books in the Series

Earthseed (2 books)
  • Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)
“In order to rise
From its own ashes
A phoenix
“Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.”
More quotes…